"Billy's Shirts" as written by and James Glennie Gavin Whelan....
Shirt's on fire, church on fire
Billy's dream boat stills as the house alights
Sailors come from miles for a drink and a fight
But the harbour thrills pull back from the light
To the belly of a boat in a hammer try tight

Pleasures of the night
Seaman's delight

Pleasures of the night
What a sight
Oh no, the organ plays by itself
It doesn't need the grinder's help and the monkey
And the monkey stow away to sea
Back to his wife and a nest in the trees

Billy's brother plays bass in a band called man
He fancies himself as a travelling ham
Strutting and fretting them into fame
In a torn t-shirt he'll carve his name

Looking for adventure and some mystery
He doesn't need the grinder and he doesn't want me

Stripped off his suit
So let the poor beast be
Oh, let the poor beast be

The man said, "ho ho wee, this is too hot for me!"
Billy's shirt's on fire in the night
He said, "ho wee this is too hot to see."
Billy's shirt's on fire in the night

Lyrics submitted by MaskOfSanity

"Billys Shirts" as written by James Glennie Gavin Whelan

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

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Billy's Shirts song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is brilliant and very under-rated. The band have been pretty dismissive of this track and dropped it from their live sets early on, but in my opinion it's one of the best tracks on Stutter. It sounds like a good sea shanty, and the backing music has more of a 'Rock' feel than later James songs.

    The lyrics don't seem to make much sense, it could possibly be a metaphor for someone's craving for Rock stardom... but Tim Booth has been quoted as saying that on several tracks on Stutter he has no idea now what he was singing about, so this may well be one of them.

    Interestingly enough, another of my favorite bands, The Bolshoi, did a song a few years before this called "Billy's New Boots"... whoever Billy is, the contents of his wardrobe sure must have fascinated the Rock bands of the era. ;)
    MaskOfSanityon February 05, 2007   Link

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